Love Stories

I have had the honor of photographing and telling hundreds of love stories as a wedding photographer in Chattanooga.  Please take a look around for ideas and inspiration for telling yours.

Wedding: Splurge vs Save

There are SO MANY choices to make when you are planning a wedding. You have to pick vendors, then you have to pick packages and price ranges and then you often have to pick more details based on you budget and what they offer.   It’s crazy!  To make things harder, most of us don’t have unlimited to budgets so that makes decisions even more difficult.  So…what’s worth it?  What not worth it? Well based on my wedding experience I have a few suggestions.

Go For the Splurge:

#1 Flowers

Fresh flowers are a must. Often brides think they would prefer silk/plastic flower arrangements because then they get to keep them!  While I appreciate the nostalgia of this, it’s a bad idea.  Also those types of arrangements are often less expensive.  I cannot stress this enough: Fake flowers will look in fake in your photos.  My heart breaks when I see a bride who picked a beautiful high-end venue and then chooses fake flowers.  They can make an elegant venue look cheap.


#2 A venue with a getting ready space & a backup plan you love (in case of rain)

You need to love your venue. It’s like the supporting actress in your love story.  You also need to think about the practical offerings that a venue might have.  A getting ready space really adds to the wedding day experience and will decrease your stress level.  Another thing that will drastically reduce your stress level is picking a venue that you love both the outdoor and indoor options for the ceremony.  This way you will feel at ease about how things will go whether or not mother nature is angry that day.


#3 A Coordinator

You need someone to be able to answer the last minute questions, troubleshoot problems, coordinate vendors, and generally be in charge. A coordinator is more than someone who can decorate and tell bridesmaids when to walk down the aisle (although that is helpful!).  You will not regret the money you spend on experienced coordinator.  You have probably never planned a wedding before so it’s important to have professional.


#4 Professional Hair & Make-up

This make a HUGE difference in photos. You need to like the way your look in real life, but you need also need to consider you will substantially more make-up than the average person wears in order to look flawless in photos.  Your photographer will thank you!  You also need to be sure and hire artists with wedding/event experience.  Timelines and wedding days run behind 80% of the time because of hair/make-up delays.  Experience artists know how to budget their time and be sure things run smoothly.  Just because an artist does amazing work doesn’t mean they can do it on a time constraint.  Oh! And do a practice run!  This is super important! You don’t want to hate your makeup!  Then schedule a bridal or boudoir session that day so it doesn’t go to waste!


#5 Photography

Of course, the photographer thinks quality photography is worth it. But it IS TRUE! You need someone with experience, positive attitude, and creative insight to make sure you only feel happiness when you look back at your wedding album.  It truly is more than taking great photos.

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Save your money!


#1 Favors

This is not something guests care about. There are a million adorable and cute ideas on pinterest for wedding favors.  Some expensive, some inexpensive.  If you want to do them I suggest doing something inexpensive.  Your guests would rather you spend that money on the food!


#2 Over-done décor

Don’t feel like every flat surface needs to have a cute sign or knick-knack. Pick a great coordinate, venue and a florist and that will be enough!


#3 Getting married on a weekend…maybe

This is controversial. More and more brides are choosing week day weddings because it is substantially cheaper in most cases.  You can save literally thousands of dollars.  This is REALLY a great option in summer, especially in Tennessee, and for couples that do not have a lot of out-of-town guests.  It’s great in summer because you will want an evening wedding (so people can come after work/school) and the summer months are hot!  Having an evening wedding works out perfectly because the heat cools off and the sun doesn’t set until 9pm!  Don’t worry too much about who will be able to come and who will party all night with you, the people you are closest too will take the day off!


#4 The Veil…kind of

YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY HAVE A VEIL! They photograph beautifully and hide things you want hidden.  I’m saying you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on one.  I have ordered 4 veils for styled shoots and my own wedding on amazon.  I love every single and they photograph just fine!  They key is getting one that matches your dress.  If your dress is more of an ivory or true white you don’t want a stark white veil with a blue tint.  It has nothing to do with the quality of the veil that makes it look strange, it’s the subtle color difference.


#5 Champagne Toasts

If you love champagne, definitely pop a bottle while you are getting ready and save a bottle for the reception. You could even have it available at your bar.  However caterer’s, bartenders, servers may try to upsell the “champagne toast” where they will poor and pass champagne flutes for your official toasts.  This is a nice touch, but a lot of people don’t like champagne and it will just be wasted.  People can toast you with their jack and coke too!

Howe farms apple barn_1440





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